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planation being asked. Should my success be less than I desire and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you.
“ Very truly, your obedient servant,
“U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General." With the approach of spring it became necessary to complete the arrangements for another advance on Richmond; and this time it was apparently determined that there should be no lack of force and no diversity of command that should interfere with the directness and efficiency of the blows to be struck. A large amount of experience had now been gained in relation to the mode of conducting the campaign. In previous years direct advances upon Richmond bad failed in various stages of progress, the army of the invasion generally stopping short at the Rappahannock and the Rapidan. The difficulty of passing these lines was beginning to be considered as insuperable. But the Government was determined, by augmented force, more thoroughly to test that problem. The physical character of the country between Washington and Richmond is such as to exert an unexampled influence upon military operations. .
On the right of an advancing army are chains of mountains, wbich enable an opposing force to conceal any flanking movement they may undertake, while the valleys afford to it the means for an easy and uninterrupted passage to the Potomac above Washington, and one almost entirely secure from attacks in its rear. On the front is a succession of rivers, presenting great natural obstacles to an advance, and at the same time easily defensible; to make flanking movements by ascending them is to open the rear to attacks from Fredericksburg, and to cross below the enemy's army would leave the railroad a prey to guerrillas. The country is, moreover, masked in every direction by dense forests, rendering any thing like a surprise in force impracticable. A few scouts may at all times easily detect and thwart such a movement. Such are the natural features of the country.
It is a well-known rule of military operations, that a "base" should neither be too extended nor too limited, and it should be accessible by several routes. The base of the Army of the Potomac was just the width of a railroad track, and that railroad furnished really the only practicable route of communication. With a limited base an army is always exposed to be cut in the rear. This is what had happened to the Army of the Potomac at every advance. Guerrilla bands infested the whole country between the Rappahannock and Alexandria (some sixty miles), and it is impossible to protect entirely in a hostile country such an extent of territory. For every mile of advance beyond Fairfax Court-House, five hundred men are required to protect the rear. An entire corps was in March employed by General Meade in doing this from the Rappahannock to Manassas, and the troops of the Department of Washington protected the track from that locality to Alexandria. Hence the drain of an army for that service can be easily estimated. After passing the Rapidan, if railroad communication is to be relied on for supplies, a strong force must be constantly kept in the rear; every train will even then be exposod to capture by bands sweepipor down from the mountains.
The rebel leaders fully understood all these circumstances, and were always ready to take advantage of them. They were aware that they could hold in check, with three-fifths of its force, the Army of the Potomac. Meantime, they pursued the Fabian policy, and were not foolish enough to stake every thing on the risk of a battle, except where invulnerably fortified. Their own rear needed no protection; they had two railroad routes, besides all the ordinary roads. Thus they had all the advantage of position on their side.
There were several methods by which an army could overcome these obstacles: First, with a sufficient force to cover its flanks, it might compel the enemy to retreat and Richmond to be abandoned. Second, it might be able to bring on an engagement which would prove decisive. Third, by cutting loose from Washington and becoming a movable column, it could go at any time to the rear of the rebel army and open a new base for itself on the Pamunkey or York Rivers, or by the railroad from Fredericksburg. It is risking nothing to say that the army could at any time go to Richmond, if relieved from the necessity of protecting its rear. This could have been done when General Meade crossed the Rapidan and was stopped by the rebel works on Mine Run. The army could transport fifteen days' subsistence and forage, and with this be moved to Ilanover Court-Hlouse, to operate on a new base. Fifteen days is the period usually assigned in Europe as the length of a march from one base of operations to another, except the country traversed be able to support the army. In Virginia, our army could derive no advantage from the country. It could not subsist itself for the most limited period. The portion of the State which had been the scene of war was exhausted. Even among the fertile farms of the Peninsula it was difficult to obtain small supplies of forage; of subsistence for the men there was actually nothing. The necessity of " bases” was therefore evident.
The works occupied by Lee's army on the Rapidan extended on the right three miles below Raccoon Ford. Ewell's Corps and Hill's lay behind those defences, and stretched out on each side of Orange CourtHouse, along a line of twenty miles. Longstreet, having returned some time before from Eastern Tennessee, occupied the country around Gordonsville, thirteen miles southwest of the position on the Rapidan. Such had been the disposition of the Army of Northern Virginia during the latter part of April.
The force with which Grant was about to take the field was magnificent in numbers and equipment. Under his personal observation moved the Army of the Potomac with its three corps, Hancock's (Second), Warren's (Fifth), and Sedgwick's (Sixth), recruited to over forty thousand men each ; in addition to which, the Ninth Corps, under Burnside, of equal strength to any of the others, and comprising a large body of colored troops, was to constitute his reserve on the field. In connection with the direct advance of this army by land towards Richmond, there were to be co-operating movements up the James River from Fortress Monroe, and up the Valley of the Shenandoah, towards Lynchburg, the former to be conducted by the Army of the James, comprising W. T. (“Baldy '') Smith's (Eighteenth) Corps, and
Gilmore's (Tenth), the whole under the command of General Butler ; and the latter by the Army of the Shenandoah, comprising the troops under General Crook, serving in Western Virginia, and somewhat later Emery's (Nineteenth) Corps. This movement was to be directed by Sigel. These three distinct organizations, converging ultimately toward a single point, had, indeed, a common object, but upon the Army of the Potomac, which far exceeded the others in strength and effectiveness, was to devolve the hardest of the fighting.
The Army in Tennessee.-Results of Murfreesboro'.- Operations in Tennessee.- Minor
Expeditions.-Advance of Rosecrang.-- Retreat of Bragg.-Burnside's Campaign in East Tennessee.-Occupation of Knoxville.-Evacuation of Chattanooga.- Concentration of the Enemy.----Battle of Chickamauga.—The Two Generals. Results of the Battle.
The battle of Stone River, near Murfreesboro, which closed the operations of the year 1862 in Tennessee, left General Rosecrans established at the latter place with the Army of the Cumberland. The army occupied a position in front of the town, and a series of extensive earthworks, completely encircling it, were constructed for the purpose of making it a dépôt of supplies and the base of future operations. The railroad track and the bridges in the rear towards Nashville were also repaired. On the 9th of January, the army was divided into three corps, designated the Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first, and commanded respectively by Generals Thomas, McCook, and Crittenden. Active operations were, however, suspended, owing to the rains of the season. Large supplies were collected in consequence of the rise of the Cumberland River at Nashville and Murfreesboro'. But the enemy was not idle, His cavalry overran the country, and men and wagons belonging to General Rosecrans were often captured by him. The object was to cut off the communications between the Army of the Cumberland and its supplies. Thus also several of the steamers on the Cumberland River were captured and burned.
On the 31st of January, 1863, General Jeff. C. Davis, with a division of infantry and two brigades of cavalry, under Colonel Minty, moved from camp on an expedition in the direction of Rover and Franklin. The force was absent thirteen days, during which it scoured the country, making many captures from the enemy. On the Confederate side there was much activity under Colonel Forrest, who operated to cut off supplies on the Cumberland. On the 5th of March a Federal brigade at Spring Hill was surprised by a large force under Van Dorn. The former consisted of the Thirty-third and Eightyfifth Indiana, Twenty-second Wisconsin, and Nineteenth Michigan, numbering fifteen hundred and eighty-nine men, together with the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio and six hundred cavalry, and one battery of six small guns, all under Colonel John Colburn. Of these, thirteen hundred and six men were captured. The cavalry